Graduation at Arrendale

Arrendale State Prison

Lee Arrendale State Prison is the largest state women's prison in Georgia and is located an hour north of Atlanta in the north Georgia mountains. Students will have the opportunity to provide pastoral care to incarcerated women, lead small groups and assist the chaplain with worship.

Site Work

Site work will be done on Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., followed by reflection group time. In addition, students will be required to preach and lead worship at least one Sunday during the year (at 8:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m.), and will assist with Holy Week Services, which may fall outside of the standard Monday morning site hours. Students might have additional opportunities to work with the Lee Arrendale Children's Center Program, which occurs on the second Saturday of each month from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Fall 2018 Reflection Group

Monday 1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. at Lee Arrendale State Prison, led by Rev. Susan Bishop, Site Supervisor.

Spring 2019 Integrative Seminar

Wednesday 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. at Candler, led by Rev. Susan Bishop and Dr. James Abbington.

Pastoral Care Class

Students who enroll in Arrendale Prison will also enroll in Intro to Pastoral Care PC501CE 1 in the fall semester (Tuesday 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.), taught by Dr. Jennifer Winingder.

Faculty Academic Advisor

Dr. James Abbington will serve as the academic advisor for Lee Arrendale students and will join the group for the spring Integrative Seminar.

Site Mission

To provide pastoral care and counseling, worship and ministry to a 1,700-bed correctional facility for female offenders. This also includes ministry to approximately 500 staff members and their families.

About the Site

The Chaplaincy Department at Lee Arrendale State Prison has a variety of programs. These include worship, religious education, music, dance ministry, pastoral therapy groups, ministry to inmates with mental health issues, postpartum issues inmates, inmates with chronic medical issues such as HIV, Hepatitis C and cancer, and substance abuse issues.

Demographics of female offenders in Georgia are a follows:
53% Caucasian
46.5% African American
5% Hispanic and/or Asian
80% or more have addiction and substance abuse issues
80% or more have physical, mental, sexual abuse issues
90% are mothers and/or grandmothers
The age range is between 13–80
The average age is between 25–35

Student Reflection

MDiv student Allison Henderson-Brooks reflects on her Contextual Education I experience at Arrendale State Prison during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Additional Requirements & Accessibility

In addition to the required criminal background check Candler requires of all admitted students, this site requires a criminal background check administered by the Georgia Department of Corrections, a TB test, and a training session about security issues at the facility. Depending on the results of the background check, fingerprinting may also be required. (The fingerprint process will cost less than $20). Students with a criminal conviction may not be eligible to work at this site.

Transportation to the site is provided on Mondays. Students travel together by van between the campus and the prison, leaving early Monday morning and returning late Monday afternoon.  Including travel time, students who select this site should plan to be available from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Mondays. For Sunday worship leadership and at other times, students in this group usually develop carpool arrangements to assist those without cars.

The site is very hilly and occupies a large footprint, and could be difficult for students with mobility issues.


Lee Arrendale State Prison
2023 Gainesville Hwy South
Alto, GA 30510 (Map)
Phone: 706.776.4700
Handicap Accessible: Y

Site Supervisor

The Rev. Chaplain Susan Bishop has been a Correctional Clinical Chaplain with the Georgia Department of Corrections since 1984. She is a Candler graduate, has a master's degree in music education from Georgia State, and has been supervising Candler students since 1997. Susan is an ordained Southern Baptist clergywoman.
Phone: 706.776.4700